After celebrating 25 years as artistic director with Bangarra Dance Theatre, Stephen Page has been awarded the JC Williamson Award for outstanding contribution to the enrichment of Australia's live performance culture at the 16th annual Helpmann Awards in Sydney
Stephen Page has choreographed 23 pieces for the only Indigenous music theatre company of its kind and the award symbolises how far Indigenous performance has come since he first took the job in 1991.
"With land comes stories, and that's why we're all here tonight…A lot of mob before me laid down that good solid ground for us to walk on that right pathway, but I appreciate the recognition from live performance Australia the council, the committee…"
"We have to lead the way for other brothers and sisters and hope for the future there will be major performing arts in all those other arts and mediums for Indigenous peoples.”
Earlier this year, the NAIDOC Awards Lifetime Achievement Award went to Stephen Page for his work as Director of the Bangarra Dance Theatre. His eminent success can be seen outside of his role at Bangarra as well, Page choreographed several major events including the Indigenous sections of the 2000 Sydney Olympics ceremonies.
The award recognises contributions to Australian live performance, and previously has gone to the likes of Paul Kelly, Kylie Minogue, John Bell, Barry Humphries and Joan Sutherland.
Matilda the Musical dominated the Helpmann awards, with a record 13 titles won including best original score for Tim Minchin, as well as best direction, choreography and music direction.
In an acceptance speech Minchin said Matilda's "amazing" recognition at the awards was a symbolic recognition of the success of local production and talent.
List of Helpmann award winners of 2016:
Best Musical: Matilda The Musical
Best Female Actor in a Musical: Molly Barwick, Dusty Bursill, Tiana Mirra, Alannah Parfett, Sasha Rose, Georgia Taplin, Bella Thomas and Ingrid Torelli
Best Male Actor in a Musical: James Millar
Best Opera: Agrippina
Best Play: The Bleeding Tree
Best Female Actor in a Play: Paula Arundell
Best Male Actor in a Play: Mark Leonard Winter
Best Cabaret Performer: Michael Griffiths
Best Comedy Performer: Tom Ballard
Best Australian Contemporary Concert: Kate Miller-Heidke and the Tasmania Symphony Orchestra
Recipient of JC Williamson Award: Stephen Page